Snakes For The Divine review by High on Fire

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  • Released: Feb 23, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (36 votes)
High on Fire: Snakes For The Divine
2

Sound — 9
There is no denying that the hipster metal fans dig those sludge slingers known as High on Fire. The Nor Cal band doesn't do anything hip on any of their albums, including Snakes for the Divine. Maybe it's the fact that band completely and totally f--king slays like a warrior with a machete and without a conscience that makes them a favorite of longhairs and hipsters alike. Snakes for the Divine has sharp fangs, is played at near-punk speed, all the while dosing the mix with High on Fire's signature sludge. Ultimately, the album is like Motorhead, only younger, angrier and nastier. But as vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike go deeper in their career, they keep surprising us by never staying stagnant. The title track, which opens the record, is nearly ten minutes long, but the band spikes the song with so many different dynamic elements that it feels like five mini song encased in one long song. About six minutes in, you'll be bobbing your head to the riffs that the band is firing off. The Mastodon comparisons are inevitable, as High on Fire fashion their songs in a similar, artfully heavy way, but High on Fire are a lot dirtier, a lot less polished and much more happily underground than their former labelmates. Frost Hammer is probably the album's most potent track, thanks to the utterly rippin' solo that closes out the song. Bastard Samuari is the most bottom-feeding, swamped out tune on the record. It's a band like High on Fire and an album like Snakes for the Divine that make people like me proud to hold metal horns high about my head. There may only be eight songs on the album, but each one is worth its weight in gold, thanks to the way the band flexes its dynamic muscles. Distortion, fuzz, noise. It's all here in droves. But it's the way the band ends each song that's most compelling. Ghost Neck goes out with a thunderous roar, as do most of the songs. The endings don't just fade out and complete the song and get you to the next one; they make a statement.

Lyrics — 9
Pike is as gruff as ever. He growls like he downed a fifth of moonshine whiskey, inhaled a few bong hits and gargled with vinegar before laying down his vocal tracks. I wouldn't be surprised if he did some permanent damaged to his vocal folds, but he probably is reading, willing and able for the sake of the album's potency. I am listening to an advance of the record, so I don't have lyrics in front of my face, but I can tell you this: shit's dark. High on Fire don't pontificate on the lighter things in life, just another element that adds heft to Snakes For the Divine.

Overall Impression — 9
Metal fans might have found an early candidate for their top 10 of 2010 lists already with Snakes For the Divine. There's nothing but pure, brain-melting metal to define this Divine.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    new_age_reject
    hildesaw wrote: Hexagram wrote: Does the cover art of this cd remind anyone else of Wolfmother's self titled cd? My thoughts exactly. But I got the advance of this cd too at the ol' radio station, and I thought it was friggin' incredible.
    Yup, it also reminds of of Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf.
    goest
    Why has Stoner Metal become "Hipster Metal"? ...That seems much more derogatory...
    Deified
    Angel aka alaab wrote: More like Mastodon fashions their songs like HoF. *Mastodon was influenced by HoF, one of the guitarists even got a guitar similar to Pikes.* I love both bands the same though, loved that they toured together(greatest show ever IMO)
    I think their guitarists actually met at a High On Fire show.
    oldschoolthrash
    Sweet, I'll definitely have to pick this up. Its a shame though that his voice is so ****ed though...
    Dextermaniac
    Epic album! The sonic titan that is High on Fire has returned. Everyone should stop bitching about Matt's voice, it totally fits and sounds so much more genuine then any of those fake ass inhaling screamers/grunters these days. Pike's got ****ing style! Can't wait for the next time I see them live.
    Hand Of Stone
    High On Fire=awesome. I really want to see them live again. "Devilution" being played live was one of the most insane, awe-inspiring, and beautiful five minutes of my life. I would love to hear "Snakes" live.
    Sadistik
    Going to see them next week in philly! Matt Pike is one of the few anymore who is worthy of the metal god label.
    hildesaw
    Hexagram wrote: Does the cover art of this cd remind anyone else of Wolfmother's self titled cd?
    My thoughts exactly. But I got the advance of this cd too at the ol' radio station, and I thought it was friggin' incredible.
    Jaxter1
    This band is true metal but his voice is pretty messed up haha. It just doesn't work, seems like he tries too hard.
    Hexagram
    Does the cover art of this cd remind anyone else of Wolfmother's self titled cd?
    Vinnie5
    Def gonna check this out the second I get home... Already listened to the uploads on youtube and am blown away
    draco thatus
    new_age_reject wrote: hildesaw wrote: Hexagram wrote: Does the cover art of this cd remind anyone else of Wolfmother's self titled cd? My thoughts exactly. But I got the advance of this cd too at the ol' radio station, and I thought it was friggin' incredible. Yup, it also reminds of of Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf.
    Don't worry, I'm sure Coldplay will use it in a few months. That or Avril Lavigne.
    Raijouta
    ^ It hasn't. The UG Team was saying that fans of hipster metal love stoner metal (and I wouldn't really call HoF stoner, they're much too fast-paced most of the time).
    deadnihils
    I`ve always thought these guys were just ok, but this album is great! As soon as the first track started playin, I was hooked.
    Lion_Slicer
    Mastodon even first got together at a High on Fire show. These guys are absolutely amazing. I saw them on Gigantour a few years back, they were the first opener but they pretty much blew me away. Great music, Death Is This Communion was ****ing awesome, and I can't wait to hear this album.
    Angel aka alaab
    Gakbez wrote: I found a new band to listen to for a month straight
    Trust me, you'll be listening to HoF a lot longer than that!
    The Mastodon comparisons are inevitable, as High on Fire fashion their songs in a similar, artfully heavy way
    More like Mastodon fashions their songs like HoF. *Mastodon was influenced by HoF, one of the guitarists even got a guitar similar to Pikes.* I love both bands the same though, loved that they toured together(greatest show ever IMO)
    darkcheef
    Jaxter1 wrote: This band is true metal but his voice is pretty messed up haha. It just doesn't work, seems like he tries too hard.
    When you smoke as much as Pike, you don't have to try to make your voice sound rough. I think it fits.
    Highwaytohell
    Jaxter1 wrote: This band is true metal but his voice is pretty messed up haha. It just doesn't work, seems like he tries too hard.
    Everyone says that about anyone who adds grit to thier voice. tell that to the whiney generic alt/emo/screamo singers who sound like a bunch of piss ant college kids. Matt has ****ing WEIGHT to his voice- and that is undefiable. This album is cleaner, and contains alot more up-tempo stuff than HOF's earlier releases. Which I like- personally the greater production value makes me freaking love it. I never was one of those people who could get into say Bathory or Venom becuase the quality was just utter crap. This band BRINGS THE FUCKING PAIN!
    nosaj89
    i love matt's voice, it fits the music perfectly, he sounds like a f'n ogre!
    tazmanz
    The songs are great. The sound is terrible. Matt Pike is a guitar monster... that's what he does... to mute his guitar sound in favor of bass / drums / vocals / whatever is self-defeating for a band like High on Fire. The production of this album ruins it for me. I'd rather listen to ANY of their other releases. Put in Death is This Communion or Blessed Black Wings and tell me this new album is better from a production perspective... no chance.